Questlove have revealed why he declined to participate in a new documentary series detailing the alleged sex crimes of singer R. Kelly, saying online that he did not want to appear to be a fan of the embattled performer.
“I always thought Kels was trash. My reason for declining the RKelly docu that I support 10000000 percent is I didn’t wanna be in the ‘good times’ portion of the doc, like stanning [or, being an overzealous fan] for his ‘genius,” the Roots percussionist wrote in a tweet that has since been deleted. “I was asked to talk about his genius. I do not nor have I EVER stanned for him.”
Released last week, Surviving R. Kelly examines allegations that the “I Believe I Can Fly” hitmaker has been sexually abusing underage girls for decades. Due to the controversial nature of the project, executive producer dream hampton recently told Shadow and Act, Questlove was not the only celebrity to refuse an interview. Penn alum John Legened, however, agreed, calling his decision an “easy decision” on Twitter.
“John Legend was the only one. I asked Jay-Z, I asked Mary J. Blige, I asked Lil Kim, Erykah Badu, Dave Chappelle…I mean, most people just don’t want to touch it,” hampton said. “I remember Ahmir [Questlove] was like, ‘I would do anything for you but I can’t do this.’ It’s not because they support him, it’s because it’s so messy and muddy. It’s that turning away that has allowed this to go on.”
In a followup tweet, Questlove wrote that hampton’s take “makes it looks like I’m protecting him,” and that he doesn’t want to be “the one guy I always am in documentaries fawning over someone I detest.” Hampton, however, responded on Twitter, writing that she did not ask him to discuss Kelly’s “genius.”
“I asked you to come on camera and say the same thing you said on Twitter,” she wrote. “I told you I need Black male allies.”
Questlove has since deleted his tweets, replacing them instead with a retweet showing an Oct. 2018 Rolling Stone article promoting the project.